Sven Grundberg, for the Journal’s Digits blog:
Spotify on Tuesday unleashed a load of data, revealing that each time a user listens for a song, rights holders are paid between $0.006 and $0.0084. Over the course of 2013, the company says it will have paid $500 million in royalties, representing half of the $1 billion Spotify sent to rights holders since setting up shop in 2008.
This is at odds with the extremely low payouts reported by bands such as Grizzly Bear or Galaxie 500. My guess is that the discrepancy is between Spotify paying “rights holders” and the artists reporting what they were actually paid; “rights holders” sounds like it describes what is paid to the combination of artist, record label, songwriters, and so forth. There’s also the chance that these royalty rates may have been adjusted since the first wave of these stories broke several years ago.